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Is 1 hr and 30 mins enough time for first time travelers at Atlanta airport? I am flying first time from USA to Bombay and my first transit is at Atlanta. I assume I have to go from the domestic terminals to the international departures for which I have to take the "Light Train".

Is it easy to find the stations for those trains? Is it enough time to make it to the next flight?

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IIRC, Atlanta is quite a big airport with various parts. What bits of the terminal are you arriving in and departing from? And is it all one ticket? –  Gagravarr Apr 3 at 18:14
    
My flight is still a month away. But I googled the flight and yesterday it was supposed to land at terminal B and my international departure would possibly be terminal F if I am correct –  Ron Apr 3 at 18:23
    
My suggestion is ask an airport employee immediately if you loose your way. I once got lost, my flight was from the same terminal where I landed and had 30 minutes to catch the next flight. Luckily an airport employee directed me, where I should be going. –  DumbCoder Apr 4 at 8:37

3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Hmm... Technically, I suppose all of these answers are somewhat opinion-based, but I would personally plan a bit longer than 1.5 hrs for a layover to an international flight at ATL. I usually try to plan at least that long even for domestic layovers there. While Michael is correct that, if you did miss your flight, they would put you on the next available flight to your destination since you booked a single ticket, if you'd rather avoid that possibility, I'd personally advise planning a bit longer than 1.5 hours between flights. Keep in mind that the times listed for the flights are not including the time required to deplane and board the next flight, so even if you have a 50 minute layover scheduled, your departing flight is likely already boarding by the time you step off your arriving flight, even if it's on time. It's definitely possible that you'll make the 1.5 hr connection here, but it's also possible to miss it, especially if your inbound flight is delayed for some reason.

As far as the 'plane train' is concerned (that's what they call the light rail you mentioned,) this map does seem to suggest that it connects to concourse F. Note that international flights in Atlanta can depart from either Concourse F (which is directly attached to the new international terminal) or Concourse E (which housed all of the international flights prior to the new terminal.) As far as I know, the plane train connects to both, though.

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Quite honestly I've been to the Atlanta airport a lot of times and used the "Light Train" a lot of times as well. It's easy to find and even easier to use. I think 90 minutes is enough for the connection I think the travel from Concourse F/E to A/B/C/D or T takes between 3 to 15 minutes. It's quite easy to make it on time. –  Aditya Somani Apr 4 at 1:13
    
Yes, I've been through ATL many times, also, especially over the last 4-5 years. 90 minutes is plenty of time to connect between flights there if your arriving flight is on time. If it's not on time, then there's a good chance you and/or your baggage will miss your connection. Personally, I prefer to have 2.5-3 hours for international layovers in order to reduce the likelihood of missing a flight that only happens once per day. That's why I said this is more of an opinion question, though. To some people, having a shorter layover is worth the risk, to others (myself included,) it isn't. –  reirab Apr 4 at 5:15
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I will agree with you there, the arriving flight must be on time, but I presumed that the OP knew those risks. :) Otherwise I don't think you can make the flight on any airport, let alone Hartsfield-Jackson. –  Aditya Somani Apr 4 at 5:34

Atlanta airport is huge (the biggest in the world, IIRC), but well organised. If your baggage is checked through, one and a half hours are enough for transit between a domestic flight to an international flight. The train that connects the terminals is very easy to find and use.

Of course, if your arrival is delayed you might still miss the connection, but if it's on a single ticket, the airline will put you on a later flight. For separate tickets, I'd prefer to have an extra hour safety margin.

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Thanks for the reply. Yes it's all on one ticket. –  Ron Apr 3 at 20:22
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Atlanta is the busiest airport in the world but not the biggest. (That's Denver, at least in terms of land area, though that's not a useful measure. 54 square miles, in case you were wondering.) –  David Richerby Apr 3 at 22:35

If your flight into Atlanta is domestic (originating in the US), you should be fine.

The International terminal is quite a ways away from the domestic terminal, but the light train goes there.

On the return, 1.5 hours may be cutting it close, as you'll have to go through customs during that time. But for your outbound flight, I expect no problem.

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Regarding the return flight, I've never been through Atlanta, but from what I've heard I wouldn't even consider a 1½h connection going into the US as a non-US citizen. As a US citizen, maybe. –  Gilles Apr 3 at 21:25
    
Thanks. It's just the outbound. –  Ron Apr 3 at 21:35
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The train definitely DOES go to terminal F. –  Doc Apr 3 at 21:59
    
@Gilles: If you don't have any checked baggage, 1.5 hours should be fine (I've done it). With checked luggage, it could be tough. –  Flimzy Apr 3 at 22:00
    
Atlanta immigration is usually pretty quick. I've been stopped once for an hour but I usually glide through quite quickly due to the dedicated terminal for international arrivals. You just gotta make sure that you leave the plane early. That's why I usually try to take a seat further up ahead. –  Aditya Somani Apr 4 at 5:37

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